AVS/AIX High-Resolution Audio Test: Ready, Set, Go! - Page 5 - AVS Forum
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post #121 of 215 Old 07-03-2014, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by parkhopper View Post
This exactly why I think it was a mistake to limit the experiment to those only with amplifiers and speakers capable of producing ultrasonic frequencies. It assumes the cause of an effect that is still in question. Would it not be better to open it up and simply take that information into account?.
That is what I was trying to suggest as well.

Rather than speculate (since I am not a member of the true believers club), I started a poll on ComputerAudiophile. The early returns are in (19 votes), and the two dominant suggestions are that there is no difference, and that the higher sampling redundancy within the audible range (something I hadn't considered yesterday) makes a difference:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8...oll-120-a.html

Only one person has suggested they can hear above 22kHz.
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post #122 of 215 Old 07-03-2014, 09:08 PM
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Okay I realize I am a newbie on this forum, and I don't want to sound crass, but here there are 5 pages of replies; and after reading over them there seems to me to be a lot of posts about what people are finding in assorted audio software programs. Did any of you listen to the files to see if you can hear any difference? After reading the initial post it seemed pretty obvious that the point of this is to see if anyone can discern an audible difference between the files.

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post #123 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
Okay I realize I am a newbie on this forum, and I don't want to sound crass, but here there are 5 pages of replies; and after reading over them there seems to me to be a lot of posts about what people are finding in assorted audio software programs. Did any of you listen to the files to see if you can hear any difference?
I did listen to one of the pairs of allegedly flawed files and couldn't hear squat. I've been doing audio DBTs for over 30 years and when setting levels, if the levels were 0.2 dB apart that was often accepted and we ended up with null results anyway. It takes about 0.5 dB to have a reliably detectible difference, depdending on the listening conditions and music itself.

The alternative answer is that audio forums are debating clubs and the debate is really the most important thing, not the audio.

Pick an answer from the above two, or form your own! ;-)
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post #124 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
Okay I realize I am a newbie on this forum, and I don't want to sound crass, but here there are 5 pages of replies; and after reading over them there seems to me to be a lot of posts about what people are finding in assorted audio software programs. Did any of you listen to the files to see if you can hear any difference? After reading the initial post it seemed pretty obvious that the point of this is to see if anyone can discern an audible difference between the files.
...but if you're trying to test something with which you are not familiar, then it's prudent to validate what you are testing is actually what you intended to listen to. Using simple tools to help with that is also prudent. In this case, there was no intention or expectation of a level difference, yet there was. And no intention or expectation of a sample difference, yet there was. Put another way, it was an issue for me that there was a consistent 0.2 dB level difference that was not intended, rather than a concern that 0.2 dB could significantly affect the results (which it perhaps could, it just wasn't my main concern). And any time you have one or a few unexplained things, you could easily find more when you investigate.

The point for me for any test is to help with being thoughtful on a topic, so why not be thoughtful in how the test is structured, and how the test files are made? This may seem trite, but when I do sloppy engineering work, or make sloppy technical assessments, or sloppy anything, I can hear the words of one of my mentors standing over my shoulder shaking his head, saying "...You can send 'em to school, and you can give 'em books, but..."

...and with that stated, I learned last night that loudness tools based on EBU R128 should work just fine for any sampling rate, bit depth and any frequency range, so we haven't derailed ourselves using the foobar2000 Replaygain calc as a tool. I also ran Replaygain using dBpoweramp and got identical results, and someone else also got the same results in SoX, so that provides additional confidence. I also learned that we should expect the Replaygain gains to be essentially identical for CDDA and HR versions of the same song despite the frequency range difference. This is because of how EBU R128 uses a two step gating approach to determine loudness perception that ignores very low level content and because the ultrasonic content will very likely be at a much lower level than what is found below 20k. Ultrasonic content would need to be significantly louder than -70 dBFS and in significant duration to impact the perceived loudness calculation.

And if the point this or any test is to learn something, then I'm already ahead. I hope others are as well.
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post #125 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 11:00 AM
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This is all an effort in fatality. Perhaps I just don't care as much but to me if I can't easily hear a difference then I don't waste incredible amounts of effort or energy worrying about differences.
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post #126 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 12:24 PM
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This is all an effort in fatality. Perhaps I just don't care as much but to me if I can't easily hear a difference then I don't waste incredible amounts of effort or energy worrying about differences.
That makes sense to me, we should concentrate on the quality of the master.
You cannot get quality recording without good mastering, regardless of the bit-rate/depth.
I have heard SACD's with DR6 dynamic range ratings, and they sound like it too

It would be nice if good mastering could be sold without comingling it would higher bit-rate and depth.
If not, then fine, give us "HD Audio", but only with good masters.

BluCoastRecords offers different resolution and formats at higher pricing as you move up the bit-rate or to SACD.
If these are the same masters, then let the buyer beware.

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post #127 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 01:48 PM
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.. Ultrasonic content would need to be significantly louder than -70 dBFS and in significant duration to impact the perceived loudness calculation.
..l.
I would think it needs to be at least at the threshold of detection at those frequencies, no? I doubt it is at -70dBFS.
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post #128 of 215 Old 07-04-2014, 05:18 PM
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I agree completely about the mastering. It is the mastering that is the key, not the format.
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post #129 of 215 Old 07-05-2014, 07:20 PM
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Submitted my thoughts... My choices were based on dynamic range alone. No obvious hi frequency tells for me and my system.
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post #130 of 215 Old 07-05-2014, 08:39 PM
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PM sent with my selections based upon nothing more than listening to the songs.

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post #131 of 215 Old 07-07-2014, 03:46 PM
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Just listened and based my selections on what I preferred. No level-adjustments made.
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post #132 of 215 Old 07-07-2014, 04:54 PM
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I've identified the tracks correctly. I don't think this is a valid test based on the fact that 96kHz -> 44.1kHz ->96kHz async resampling was used. It would've been better if the source file was 24bit 88.2kHz. BTW I verified the accuracy of my response with Adobe Audition Statistical and Frequency Spectrum Analysis after the fact.
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post #133 of 215 Old 07-07-2014, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Gaugster View Post
Submitted my thoughts... My choices were based on dynamic range alone. No obvious hi frequency tells for me and my system.
While using headphones with my work laptop (windows media player) I can tell that the highs are rolled off on one of the last set of tracks (On the street where you live). The tracks that were downsampled sound a bit congested to my ears. I was never a big opponent of high res. I will downsample high res to 16/24kHz and repeat the test. I wonder if I could detect the difference then (will use ABX in foobar).
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post #134 of 215 Old 07-10-2014, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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The new level-matched test files are available here. Check it out!

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post #135 of 215 Old 07-11-2014, 04:20 AM
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You mean it never snowed there in your lifetime?

Maybe it is time. Or, GW will not allow it.
AGW. Fixed that for you.
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post #136 of 215 Old 07-23-2014, 06:46 AM
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Hi Scott,
perhaps I've missed it, but has been specified what kind and what level of dither has been applied (for both down- and up-conversion) ?
The 16-bit dither in "On The Street" and "Mosaic" doesn't look smooth (e.g. the last second of each fragment), which might indicate insufficient or broken dither.
Dither looks ok in "Just My Imagination", except the last 620ms which has strange (dsp?) artifacts.
I've never seen this behavior in file processing applications. Was all dsp done "in the box" (DAW)?
Thanks.
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post #137 of 215 Old 08-05-2014, 11:50 PM
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Before anyone criticizes this. let me just preface this with a possibility of what this test REALLY is.

First off, all A/D converters are NOT EQUAL. If you look at measurements of A/D converters, they have different performance measurements, some do a better or worse job in this area. So, this is not really just a test of comparing 16/44 to 24/96, but the ability for one to see if the A/D converter (and the rest of the equipment used also assists in this process) used actually does a good conversion that's noticeable.

I would suggest that maybe changing the converter to see if there is another converter where the 24 Bit version is in fact much better than the 16 Bit conversion.

I have 16 Bit Redbook CDs (obviously mastered and converted using completely different equipment/studio/engineer/etc.) where the difference is DRAMATICALLY different where it's a no brainer in choosing the 24 Bit version. Example: Santana Abraxas. Go check out the Redbook 16 bit versions to the HDTracks version. Obviously, it's not JUST the fact that one is 24 bit and the other is 16 Bit, but because possibly better equipment was used, a different mastering techniques like not using or very little audio compression where the 16 Bit did have much more audio compression, etc. etc. etc.

So, when comparing 16/44 to 24/96 (or whatever), make sure that you really know what differences there are other than just the conversion. I've seen some converters where there isn't much of a difference between 16 and 24 bit and some converters there is, so I'm just suggesting that this test is just testing the A/D converters ability to do both 16Bit and 24 Bit and your ability to hear such differences, if any. But maybe there's another converter that would do a better conversion. Just a thought that came to mind.

So, to me, it's just testing whether or not the equipment used can produce a noticeably better sound when comparing 24/96 to 16/44, which is only one test. Good or bad.
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post #138 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
That is what I was trying to suggest as well.

Rather than speculate (since I am not a member of the true believers club), I started a poll on ComputerAudiophile. The early returns are in (19 votes), and the two dominant suggestions are that there is no difference, and that the higher sampling redundancy within the audible range (something I hadn't considered yesterday) makes a difference:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8...oll-120-a.html

Only one person has suggested they can hear above 22kHz.
Most of the information in the harmonic structure of music is well below 20kHz. What's the higher fundamental note a musical instrument is playing? Look at the highest note played on piano, for example. Look at the harmonic structure of that note and look at the harmonics, etc. It drastically goes down far before 20kHz. I think having a system produce above 20kHz is more to maybe provide more 'air" is my guess as to what might happen or it just allows the system to reproduce below much more accurately.

Are recordings using microphones to even capture above 20kHz? If they aren't capturing above 20kHz then who cares. There are microphones and mic pre amps that do capture with a flat response in the 3Hz to 50kHz range and mic pre amps that have a freq response curve flat from 1Hz to 200kHz, but is anyone using these? Check out Earthworks mice and pre amps. Did they use these in these recordings?


Before we can reproduce it on our end, they have to capture it and preserve it through their equipment and recording techniques first. Make sense?
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post #139 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 12:41 AM
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I downloaded the files and both A and B are 24/96, so what gives?

Now, as a consumer, all we can do is seek out the different versions of music we want to buy and listen to. If we can listen to each version prior to purchasing, then we can see if one version is better. But these recording studios and mastering studios aren't using the same gear, same techniques, etc. So we, as consumers, can only decide which version sounds best for us and that's all we, as consumers do.

The recording/mastering studios can change things on THEIR end to provide a better quality product through the use of better equipment, no audio compression, etc. etc. if they can, then please do.

But this comparison test to me isn' definitive in terms of deciding if 24/96 is better or the same as 16/44. Maybe I need to get better equipment, or maybe they need to get better equipment, or maybe 24/192 might be better, or maybe DSD might be better.

Either way, right now, we can only choose what equipment we own, and what recordings we choose to buy and listen to and it's up to the mastering studios and recording studios to just give us as close to the original masters whenever possible. I think it's our right to have recordings that are as close to the original as possible and then it's up to us to get equipment to give us the best sound within our respective budget.
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post #140 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 05:58 AM
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I downloaded the files and both A and B are 24/96, so what gives?
As I understand it, one has been downsampled and upsampled. So they look the same but their de facto resolution is vastly different. Your challenge is to figure out which one is which by just listening.
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post #141 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 06:07 AM
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Before anyone criticizes this. let me just preface this with a possibility of what this test REALLY is.

First off, all A/D converters are NOT EQUAL.
Of course. I've bench tested probably over 100 of them, and I've listened to them all. Some of them I even did DBTs with.

(1) They all measure different, even the ones based on the same basic converter chips.

(2) The good ones are indistinguishable, even to me with younger ears when I did much of this work in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


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If you look at measurements of A/D converters, they have different performance measurements, some do a better or worse job in this area. So, this is not really just a test of comparing 16/44 to 24/96, but the ability for one to see if the A/D converter (and the rest of the equipment used also assists in this process) used actually does a good conversion that's noticeable.
Just because there are measurable differences doesn't mean that there are audible differences.

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I would suggest that maybe changing the converter to see if there is another converter where the 24 Bit version is in fact much better than the 16 Bit conversion.
We've found some DACs that have audible and amazingly large amounts of measurable IM in the ultrasonic range and of course that would be relevant to them.

Here is a link to some files that have proven to be very diagnostic for audible ultrasonic IM:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rjaw0fd9vg...tones%20f3.zip

the first 15 seconds or so is the same keys jangling sound, downsampled or not. The next 4 seconds are 4 test tones, the first tone is audible and the 3 that follow should not be audible. They are separated by clicks. The last 15 seconds or so is everything in the first 15 seconds, only with all the audible stuff filtered out, and just the ultrasonics remaining. It should sound like silence.

Lots of modern equipment fails these tests, and other modern stuff passes it.
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post #142 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 07:26 AM
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As I understand it, one has been downsampled and upsampled. So they look the same but their de facto resolution is vastly different. Your challenge is to figure out which one is which by just listening.
That's what I figured, but that's different than what was mentioned or what I thought it was a test of. I've heard up sampling before and sometimes, it sounds like crap and sometimes, it doesn't. It's dependent on the converters and filtering as I understand it.

So, this test really isn't even about 16/44 vs 24/96, but rather up sampling as being part of the equation. Oh well. That's a little disappointing.

I, normally like to get to know the recording from a music standpoint first so I know each part being played and get past that aspect of the recording. Being a musician, I'm normally drawn to what's being played first, that's just me. Once I get to know the recording from a performance standpoint, then I can then pick out where i might hear the sound quality differences.

To me, it does sound as though some audio compression, limiting, EQ or SOMETHING was being used during the last stages of the recording. It would be nice to know what was being used and how. Not as much as others, but I still get a sense that something was used and unfortunately even a little can detract from hearing a lot of differences in recordings from a 16/44 to a 24/96 perspective. These, to me, don't sound like raw unaltered tracks where only volume levels where mixed and nothing else done to the original basic tracks.
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post #143 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Of course. I've bench tested probably over 100 of them, and I've listened to them all. Some of them I even did DBTs with.

(1) They all measure different, even the ones based on the same basic converter chips.

(2) The good ones are indistinguishable, even to me with younger ears when I did much of this work in the late 1990s and early 2000s.




Just because there are measurable differences doesn't mean that there are audible differences.



We've found some DACs that have audible and amazingly large amounts of measurable IM in the ultrasonic range and of course that would be relevant to them.

Here is a link to some files that have proven to be very diagnostic for audible ultrasonic IM:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rjaw0fd9vg...tones%20f3.zip

the first 15 seconds or so is the same keys jangling sound, downsampled or not. The next 4 seconds are 4 test tones, the first tone is audible and the 3 that follow should not be audible. They are separated by clicks. The last 15 seconds or so is everything in the first 15 seconds, only with all the audible stuff filtered out, and just the ultrasonics remaining. It should sound like silence.

Lots of modern equipment fails these tests, and other modern stuff passes it.
With regards to converters, yeah, I know that sometimes specs don't really tell how they sound, but it's at least a starting point. What I've seen is that these companies don't even perform or post the same tests to compare. There were different tests performed from each other, so it would be great if the audio industry as a whole would actually come together and put out a mandatory list of the types of measurements, the types of measurement equipment that are to be used, etc. etc. That what they are not only performing the same tests, but also using the same equipment. Heck, even when someone does a speaker freq. response curve test, what happens if they use different microphones/pre amps, aren't the different pieces of equipment going to alter the test results even a little?

The problem with listening to sound recordings trying to figure out the differences, i think it's best to use a variety of instruments ranging from low bass instruments, stringed instruments, brass, percussion instruments, etc. Because each instrument has a different harmonic structure and range of frequencies it's producing AND different levels of attack, decay, etc., etc. So, that's why it would be great to have single instruments being used since we aren't just listening to one thing, we are trying to listen to a variety of things that might differ in a recording over different frequency ranges. Even when picking components for my stereo, i have to through a battery of different recordings on to really understand what the system can do and what it can't.

But that's for the link.
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post #144 of 215 Old 08-06-2014, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by drblank View Post
That's what I figured, but that's different than what was mentioned or what I thought it was a test of. I've heard up sampling before and sometimes, it sounds like crap and sometimes, it doesn't. It's dependent on the converters and filtering as I understand it.

So, this test really isn't even about 16/44 vs 24/96, but rather up sampling as being part of the equation. Oh well. That's a little disappointing.
Not so much. You have 2 and AFAIK only 2 choices.

Rule number 1 - you have to start with a common source, or there is no reference in the test.

(1) compare a 16/44 file that was made from a 24/96 file to that 24/96 file, which means that downsampling is involved, and also you've involved differences in converters.

(2) Downsample the 24/96 file to a 24/96 file that was made from a 16/44 file that was made from the original 24/96 file, in which case all you are involving is upsampling and downsampling because the converter is the same converter.


To assist in reasoning this out, upsampling and downsampling using the right software upsampler and downsampler, which is textible, known and of which there are many, is one of those things that is highly perfected in audio.



Quote:
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I, normally like to get to know the recording from a music standpoint first so I know each part being played and get past that aspect of the recording.
Everybody gets to listen to both files as much as they want and do as many sighted and blind comparisons of them as they wish.


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Being a musician, I'm normally drawn to what's being played first, that's just me. Once I get to know the recording from a performance standpoint, then I can then pick out where i might hear the sound quality differences.
Implied in "Listen to both files as much as they want and do as many sighted and blind comparisons of them as they wish" is doing so in any and both orders as much as you want. I take it that you aren't familiar with modern DBTs, as that is implicit in many of them such as the ABX test that is used around here quite a bit.

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To me, it does sound as though some audio compression, limiting, EQ or SOMETHING was being used during the last stages of the recording. It would be nice to know what was being used and how.
Nice, but in some sense unnecessary. This is a test of sound quality not musical or production preferences, and we have the reference recording. I could crab all day about it not being the recording of my dreams, but where is the professionalism in that?

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Not as much as others, but I still get a sense that something was used and unfortunately even a little can detract from hearing a lot of differences in recordings from a 16/44 to a 24/96 perspective. These, to me, don't sound like raw unaltered tracks where only volume levels where mixed and nothing else done to the original basic tracks.
Again, back in the real world where do we get, as consumers to make detailed choices about that?

Besides good mics and recording equipment for 24/96 is readily available, so if you don't like the recordings what stops you from making your own?
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post #145 of 215 Old 08-09-2014, 06:11 PM
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Just a friendly reminder, one *right* way to compare them is to use the FOOBAR2000 ABX Comparator. It will keep them in synch as you switch back and forth which most people find optimizes listener sensitivity.
Or in this case successfully keep the files out of synch, which is exactly how they have been presented to us, so keen eared people like me can hear a distinction and post ABX logs to show it, which I did.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..


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post #146 of 215 Old 08-13-2014, 08:07 AM
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Similar double blind study published by the AES

A number of years ago the Boston Audio Society conducted a similar double blind study which the prestigious Audio Engineering Society (AES) found credible enough to publish under their name. It tested the difference in "delivery format" between SACD (192 KHz) and CD (Redbook 44.1 Khz 16 bit). To eliminate any difference in acquisition the SACD masters were down sampled to 44.1 16 bit. The double blind study concluded no audible difference could be discerned. And in their study the down converted audio (CD audio) was NOT up-converted back to the higher sample rate audio. It was played as CD audio - 44.1 Khz 16 bit alongside the 192 Khz SACD audio and they concluded no difference could be discerned. Again this is "delivery format" that makes no difference. Using higher sample rates when acquiring the sound and performing all manipulation at higher data rates than the final delivery format was conformed to make a big difference. It is very frustrating to know this and still have to develop products that can handle 8 channels of uncompressed 24 bit 192 Khz audio to meet consumer expectations.
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post #147 of 215 Old 08-13-2014, 11:29 AM
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The diagram showing the receommended component chain shows the PC's output connected to the DAC using a USB cable. Why not use the Optical digital output found on many home computers? Or, for that matter, why not use the HDMI-out if it's available?
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post #148 of 215 Old 08-13-2014, 11:48 AM
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First, thanks to AVS and AIX for this admittedly unscientific test. I've been dabbling with HD audio for a few months now, and I have very mixed feelings about it. In addition to issues with players and file compatibility, I have a lot of trouble with the idea of paying $25 for an HD download when I can get the same album, used, on Amazon for $2 (or even less).

I don't think my system meets the requirements of being included in the final results: WAV files installed on WDTV Live Hub internal HD, connected via HDMI to Onkyo PR-SC5508 pre [5-100k], RCA cables to Adcom GFA-5503 amp [10-20k] Monster cable to Klipsch Forte II speakers [35-20k]. Which raises another concern I have about HD audio. If a reasonably capable system such as mine isn't up to the task, what kind of reaslistic audience is there for HD in a world of soundbars and mp3 playback via smartphone? A few hundred one-percenters who can afford the gear and a professionally calibrated playback room?

Anyway, to my ears, these AB files are remarkably close. All that being said, my opinion (guess?) for the HD tracks are [results sent via PM].
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post #149 of 215 Old 08-13-2014, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkster27 View Post
I don't think my system meets the requirements of being included in the final results: WAV files installed on WDTV Live Hub internal HD, connected via HDMI to Onkyo PR-SC5508 pre [5-100k], RCA cables to Adcom GFA-5503 amp [10-20k] Monster cable to Klipsch Forte II speakers [35-20k]. Which raises another concern I have about HD audio. If a reasonably capable system such as mine isn't up to the task, what kind of reaslistic audience is there for HD in a world of soundbars and mp3 playback via smartphone? A few hundred one-percenters who can afford the gear and a professionally calibrated playback room?.
Good point. Tube said similar.


Also who is to say it is high frequency extension in a system that counts? Especially after so many now admit, "I don't hear ultrasonics." For all we know low bass distortion is what really counts and in that regard your speakers trounce most people here who have speakers that go to +30kHz.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..


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post #150 of 215 Old 08-13-2014, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
For all we know low bass distortion is what really counts and in that regard your speakers trounce most people here who have speakers that go to +30kHz.
Interesting. My Klipsch RSW 12 sub [22-120Hz (+-)3dB] helps as well.
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